Crowd awaiting free hand sanitizer at Kelowna distillery dispersed after fistfight - InfoNews

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Crowd awaiting free hand sanitizer at Kelowna distillery dispersed after fistfight

April 13, 2020 - 1:15 PM

Sanitizer Saturday at Kelowna’s Forbidden Spirits Distillery was cut short when people lined up for the free product broke into fistfights.

"We were so busy, and sadly a few people made it so that it got cancelled by the RCMP because they were literally fighting in the streets, getting out of their cars and fighting,”  Suzanne Jones, executive assistant at Forbidden Spirits, said.

Traffic had lined up along the road farther than staff members could see for the event that would have seen locals get some much coveted hand sanitizer, and some had arrived at two hours before the event was set to begin.

Between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., staff members saw more than 300 cars, many with more than one occupant, said Jones.

Some guests even arrived on Friday, not realizing that it wasn’t Saturday.

For future events, the staff at Forbidden Spirits will be working closely with the RCMP and bylaw in order to ensure no further incidents occur.

"We would like to continue to be able to do it, but it really comes down to how people behave,” said Jones.

"We could have provided a lot more sanitizer to the people that waiting for really quite a long time if silliness had not taken over.”

The distillery will be open and dispensing sanitizer during the week from 10 to 5 p.m. Jones urges the public to bring clean containers for the sanitizer. Because they had used shampoo bottles brought to them on the weekend, staff had to take the time to clean each one, slowing up the whole process. 

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery has also been making sanitizer for the public. They have put a system in place to serve the public while ensuring everyone’s safety.

"We launched our Harness your inner Superhero initiative it’s been going phenomenally well,” said Okanagan Spirits CEO Tyler Dyck.

This program allows customers to purchase a bottle of spirits and receive a bottle of personal sanitizer. The money from the alcohol purchase goes toward producing an extra four bottles of sanitizer for frontline workers in the community, said Dyck.

For those that don’t drink, they can participate in the Superhero Sidekick Initiative.

"They can donate towards the hand sanitizer initiative for our ability to get it free of charge out to frontline workers,” said Dyck.

Those who donate will get a bottle for themselves.

Orders for the Harness your Inner Superhero program can be done online, and delivered right to your door. Those donating towards sanitizer only can visit the Vernon or Kelowna locations of Okanagan Spirits during their posted operating hours.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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